Troy, MO - Highlighting the continued growth and statewide impact of Missouri’s auto industry, Gov. Jay Nixon today toured Toyota Bodine’s enhanced aluminum plant in Troy, which has hired 109 new workers over the past eight months. Toyota Bodine is one of the largest producers of aluminum castings in the country, and one of dozens of growing automotive suppliers across Missouri.
Since July of last year, Toyota Bodine, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toyota, has hired 109 new workers and upgraded equipment to build more efficient, high-horsepower engines. The Governor also visited with area students enrolled in its Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program (AMT), a pathway for participants to earn an associate’s degree and job placement at the plant.
“Toyota Bodine’s expansion here in Troy is a prime example of the strength and statewide impact of Missouri’s growing auto industry,” said Gov. Nixon. “Using cutting-edge technology, robotics, and automation systems, Toyota Bodine is developing faster and safer ways to make next-generation parts. They are also investing in the future of our state’s auto industry by enhancing the skills of workers and students in this community.”
Since 2013, Toyota Bodine has been preparing its plant in Troy to produce aluminum parts used to build the next-generation six cylinder engines for some of the company’s biggest name-brand vehicles such as the Camry, Rav4, Lexus RX, and the Highlander, among others. The company’s two new aluminum casting lines will be in full production by the end of this year.
At the same time, the company worked with the Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD), State Technical College of Missouri, and the Lewis and Clark Career Center to develop a training program to match the skills of its workforce with the technological advancements of the new product lines. This program also includes an apprenticeship pathway for post-secondary school students interested in advanced manufacturing, robotics, and technology to earn a two-year degree as well as have an opportunity to continue employment at the Troy facility or at another local manufacturer.
Launched in 2015, Toyota Bodine’s AMT program is currently training its inaugural group of students. Students spend three days a week at the plant working for a paid hourly wage, and the other two days are spent in the classroom. Graduates of the program who receive an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science are qualified for employment at the manufacturer if positions are available. The AMT consortium is made up of local manufacturers, including Sun Edison, True Manufacturing, Trinity Products and C.A.P.S Inc., which participate in the program by having students at their manufacturing site.
“Our program is becoming a model for workforce development in the automotive supply world as well as the advanced manufacturing community at large. By continually upgrading the skills of our workers, we are able to be more competitive on a global scale and make the best and safest vehicles on the road,” said Bob Lloyd, President of Toyota Bodine. “We appreciate the tremendous partnership with the State of Missouri as well as with our tech partners. We are helping to build the future in advanced manufacturing right here in Troy.”
Lloyd served on Gov. Nixon’s Automotive Jobs Task Force, which the Governor established on his first full day in office to develop strategies to bring next-generation vehicle production to the state. In the summer of 2010, the Governor called a special session of the General Assembly to pass the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, which led to historic expansions by major automotive manufacturers GM and Ford. Since 2010, employment at both plants has doubled and demand for auto parts has increased, resulting in significant growth of Missouri’s automotive supply industry.
Over the past six years, at least 64 automotive plants and parts suppliers have created or retained more than 16,200 jobs and invested $2.26 billion to grow their Missouri facilities. Total automotive employment has rebounded, providing jobs to more than 24,000 Missourians. Automotive production in Missouri jumped by 24 percent in 2015, ranking the state second in the nation in terms of growth. According to a recent report by Automotive News, a total of 632,128 vehicles were produced in Missouri last year.
Gov. Nixon last visited the Toyota Bodine plant in 2013 when the company announced a $3 million expansion, the creation of 35 new jobs and the construction of a new road.
To assist with the company’s workforce training efforts, DWD has provided funding through Missouri Works Training, the state’s premier training program for businesses.